The Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN), yesterday publicly presented a central database for coordination and management of recovered looted assets.
Explaining the rationale for the project, Malami stated that the Federal Government, through the Ministry of Justice, embarked on it to enhance access and coordination of recovered assets by anti-graft agencies.
The AGF said that the central database would help in creating synergy among relevant agencies for the purpose of assets recovery, adding that it would build transparency and accountability on the handling of the recoveries within and outside the country.
The central database came under Assets Tracing, Recovery and Management Regulations (ATRM) of 2019, as well as the Central Criminal Justice Information System (CCJIS) under the National Anti-Corruption Strategy (NACS) 2017-2021.
The strategy aims at providing a coordinated national policy that will guide all sectors and stakeholders in the fight against corruption as well as identify and close perceived gaps in the anti-corruption initiatives currently in place.
Malami hinted that the office of the AGF was developing legislation for the full implementation and operation of the CCJIS in order to ensure compliance.
According to him, the database is targeted at deepening transparency within the context of the United Nations conventions against corruption.
“The database is intended to deepen our transparency and accountability and, in so doing, we have established that commitment through the inclusion of civil society organisations in our fight against corruption.
“We have consolidated on that by way of enrolling as members of the open government partnership and consolidate the same by way of taking legislative steps to establish the desired legal framework on account of which we have in place multiple agencies.
MEANWHILE, former president of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Dr. Olisa Agbakoba (SAN) has praised the Federal Government for establishing an agency for the recovery of crime proceeds.
The chairman of the NBA Board of Trustees advised that the power of the EFCC to prosecute financial crime cases should also be divested from it.
“My reason for praising the government is simple, the EFCC is saddled with far too many responsibilities beyond its best capabilities. The commission performs three functions albeit related but unnecessary to concentrate in one agency – investigations, prosecution and assets recovery,” he pointed out.
According to Agbakoba, the standard recommended and prescribed by the Financial Action Task Force, the international agency mandated with the handling of proceeds of crime matters, is that those functions vested in EFCC must be carried out by distinct agencies for competence, efficiency, and transparency.